4c Loam Final Hand Answer
Hand 10: (on the draw)
I'm a little shocked by the number of people that thought this hand was a mulligan. Burning Wish represents both an answer to Chalice of the Void (assuming you draw another Mountain or fetchland) as well as an answer to Thalia, Guardian of Thraben. On top of that you're only a Dark Ritual away from being able to cast Ad Nauseam!
Now, I can see why some individuals are a little wary of the hand, it does have two most likely dead cards in Infernal Tutor. That said, you need to imprint one of them to Chrome Mox. Would you keep this as a six card hand without a dead card? I still would. I think it's important to keep expectations reasonable on the draw, this hand has possible answers to their two biggest threats with the potential to win quickly. There's not a whole lot more you can ask of the deck on the draw. I think this hand might've actually have been perfect if you swap one of the Infernal Tutors for a copy of Echoing Truth.
Hand 1: (on the draw)
As a general rule of the "Depths" style deck match-ups is that discard isn't very good. There's a saying from years ago when Jund was popular in Modern, "You don't want discard in Jund mirrors" as late-game you'll be drawing Thoughtseize while your opponent is drawing live cards, instead, you want to be as threat-dense as possible. This comes up when sideboarding for post-board games. Another issue with discard against specifically Turbo Depths is their combo is entirely lands! Meaning, the cards you're taking are going to be low-impact as is. With the non-discard spells in this hand being rather weak, I'd feel much more comfortable shipping this hand back for a fresh-look.
Hand 2: (on the play)
This isn't nearly as easy as it looks, to me this hand is almost a mulligan. The big issue here is this hand at best doesn't kill until turn three and is disrupted by a single blocker giving our opponent an additional turn with a 20/20 flying monster — Marit Lage. The reason why is that Rite of Flame, Rite of Flame, Lion's Eye Diamond, Burning Wish, and eventually Empty the Warrens is ten Goblins. On turn two you're attacking for ten, then on turn three you're attacking again. Now the issue is a Vampire Hexmage buys them another turn, but they're unlikely to kill you just from blocking and buying another turn. The real issue comes from if they're able to make a copy of Marit Lage, then attack you back. Turn two Marit Lage is an above average draw for them, but not unlikely in the slightest. I would favor my odds, but I wouldn't be happy about it.
You may be asking yourself, "Well, what if we don't make Goblins? What if we just wait, cast Dark Petition for Ad Nauseam?" this is wishful thinking. You're currently fairly far away from a nine-mana play line, you could make it a seven mana by line casting Burning Wish and then passing. But this requires you drawing a land to cast Burning Wish, then another mana source on the next turn for Rite of Flame, Rite of Flame, Lion's Eye Diamond, and Dark Petition. Meanwhile, your opponent needs to not have killed you or cast ANY discard spells. Extremely unlikely.
An important thing to do when evaluating opening hands is considering how the game will play out based on what you have and your available/most likely resources.
Hand 3: (on the draw)
This hand is somewhat discard resistant as it contains two cantrips as well as two powerful accelerants in Dark Ritual. Hands such as these are more desirable as they allow you to form a game plan even through your opponents disruption, while not blazing-fast, they do have a lot of potential.
Hand 4: (on the play)
"What does this hand do?" Certainly not anything very well. This hand is a bit clunky, outside of your Ponder finding exactly Lion's Eye Diamond I can't see it killing within the first three turns of the game. While being resilient to discard because of redundancy, this is an example of how too much of something can be bad. If you do keep a hand like this and find something you want off of the Ponder, you should keep it on top of your library to avoid a discard spell on the first turn. Then on the second turn you can most likely Infernal Tutor for a second copy of said card, even if it's Dark Ritual, you're still short of Ad Nauseam on turn three assuming your opponent is out of discard spells.
Hand 5: (on the draw)
Not a popular opinion, but I keep hands like this more often than not against non-blue decks. The potential to win is very high in a deck with eight cantrips, eight "tutor effects", and two high-impact cards like Ad Nauseam and Empty the Warrens. That's 18/53 which is roughly 33% every turn for at least three turns to hit.
Hand 6: (on the play)
Seems nuts, right? This hand is slow. But speed isn't everything in post-board games due to bounce spells, that said, bounce spells don't make you invincible. Your opponent could have Sejiri Steppe or Sylvan Safekeeper. Bounce spells are still good enough that the cons don't outweigh the pros of having them against Turbo Depths. The secondary reason this hand is playable is that you have two different ways of sculpting your game-plan.
Hand 7: (on the draw)
We've already covered that discard spells aren't super effective in this match-up and the rest of this hand doesn't do anything. The fear people have is mulliganing against discard decks will often lead to losses, so they keep subpar hands. This is an awful habit that I too am guilty of from time-to-time. You shouldn't keep bad hands out of fear, I'd rather mulligan into a playable five that might get hit by discard than keep a hand I know that isn't likely to win.
Hand 8: (on the play)
This hand is a trap! It looks good but actually isn't. You're most likely going to play Chrome Mox (imprint: Echoing Truth) and cast Brainstorm. This leaves you with just Lotus Petal as an initial mana source. Let's say you have an average Brainstorm, find a land and not much else, you can only make five mana which isn't good enough for Burning Wish into Empty the Warrens. Let's say it's above average and you find land and either Dark Ritual or Rite of Flame. Well, you can't only put one card back and no matter what other card you put back stops you from winning the game. Now if you hit a land AND Lion's Eye Diamond, you're in business. This shouldn't be your expectation when keeping opening hands. Let's say everything goes smoothly and you can cast Empty the Warrens for sixteen Goblins, there's still a chance you don't win based on them having an answer (uncommon, but I've had it happen) or them being faster (again, uncommon, but I've had it happen).
Hand 9: (on the draw)
If you decided to keep this hand after reading the other examples, I probably can't help you. This hand doesn't do anything! It's slow, it only makes a small amount of Goblins even if you draw Lion's Eye Diamond, discard spells are particularly bad on the draw, and on top of that you can't even cast the Echoing Truth!
Hand 10: (on the play)
Share your answer in the comments below!
I'll provide my answer in the next article, but for now, make sure to post your thoughts!